Annual School Survey

Published on 23 January 2017

Annual School Survey

This is the 22nd year of our annual school survey.  Several years ago we changed the way the survey was conducted from a paper-based survey to an electronic version using a survey tool completed on-line.  Through the survey we seek the views of students across all year groups, parents, support staff and teaching staff.  It is conducted anonymously and collated in a form that is then published.  Questions have been kept broadly the same to facilitate comparison over time.  It deliberately takes place mid-way through the school year and in the “darkest days” of the winter as we have always done.

All parents were invited to participate through Vandyke Voice and the website and 95 chose to do so, with each year group evenly represented as it turned out. Students were asked to undertake the survey in tutor time or Life Skills lessons. 298 responses were received.  A broadly even spread of students across year groups was achieved, but with slightly fewer Year 11 and Year 13 responses.  39 support staff and 45 teachers chose to complete the survey, which is above the participation rate in recent years.

Overall responses are very positive in each group, especially Parents.

The survey is extensive and responses are grouped into a smaller number of categories.  The survey also includes an opportunity for respondents to make additional comments using free text. The survey generates many comments and these are always interesting and are all carefully read, but are not reproduced in the report.

We have wanted our student survey to focus on matters besides social time and toilets.  Results in important sections such as Teaching and Learning continue to be especially encouraging.  This year, 82% of student   respondents expressed satisfaction with the marking of their work and the feedback they receive (79% in 2015; 12% don’t know).  This particular measure continues to rise and one hopes reflects the significant work undertaken in school to improve written feedback.

For parents, a significant number continue to respond with “Don’t know” re the work of governors, although  the figures are improved this year.  This continues to  be the case despite a great deal of work by governors, including the production of a termly Governor Newsletter for parents.

Overall satisfaction with the school remains high (84% students agree, with only 7% disagreeing which is slightly up on last year; 98% of parents agree (91% in 2015; while 2% disagree).  97% of parents state that they would recommend the school to new parents moving into the area (91% in 2015).

I am especially pleased to continue to see such high levels of belief in our school expressed by parents, such as 97% saying their child likes school and 97% again saying they feel welcome at school.  On any scale, these are remarkable outcomes that should be a source of real pride for staff as they reflect the success of our work in creating an environment where parent partnership can flourish and students’ learning can be effective.  

One section of the survey provides opportunity for free comment.  Parents’ comments include:

“I love Vandyke for my son.  He has had amazing support and I am just impressed.  Keep up the good work.”

“Brilliant school.  Can totally recommend.”

“Top class – can’t ask for anything more.”

“I am very stunned – my daughter is doing well.”

“This is a wonderful school.”

“I am constantly praising Vandyke to people:  I feel my son’s future is bright and is brighter still because of this school and its staff.”

“My child joined Year 9 and for the first time my child is happy in school.”

“We sing the school’s praises to all!”

“Great school – it feels like a team of adults leading emerging adults through their education. It feels respectful and thoughtful.  Dedicated staff bring their own flair and ideas to lessons.”

Reading all of the comments provides a flavour of opinion and spurs us to value our Student Voice and survey work and to continue to work hard at communication with students and parents to build our shared understanding of our world here in school.

I hope you will take some time to review the outcomes in the tables, as this feedback is an important part of  the school self-evaluation process.  I wish to thank everybody who took the time to participate.

Tim Carroll